Gluten-Free Is Me: Deep Dish Polenta Pizza

Deep Dish Polenta Pizza | Gluten-Free Pizza Crust Recipe

Pizza is one of the things I miss most in my gluten-free life. As you may have noticed, I eat my fair share of pasta at home. But there’s really no decent substitute for pizza dough, and even the places in New York that offer GF options (like Keste and Pie by the Pound), don’t really hold a torch to the real thing.

I live dangerously close to Co., and it’s been the cause of a few of my more severe tumbles off the wagon. I’ve occasionally walked home with a whole pie under my arm and eaten it quickly in the privacy of my own home, shamefully. More shameful was the 3am discovery that Motorino delivered late night. And one seamless web click later, I was enjoying not just one late night pizza slice, but 6. If you think normal hangover tummy is bad, you can only imagine how I felt the next day.

I guess I’m lucky that my main vices include pizza. But it’s the kind of thing I’ve resolved not to do anymore in 2013, more in the name of ending this willful self-destruction than just plain old healthfulness. So I’ve taken matters into my own hands.

There’s a great “young in food” group that I’m a part of. Members meet every month or so to mingle and eat and talk shop. Earlier this fall, we hung out at Roberta’s. You won’t be surprised, given my epic willpower described above, that I couldn’t help but have one or two or three slices of pizza. The following month was beer and stout bread in Williamsburg, and this month, it’s a pizza party at someone’s apartment. For the love of auto-immune disorders…

This week’s event is BYO toppings, but I’m going to bring my own pie as well… See where I’m going with this? I got the idea for this polenta pizza from a friend who served Bittman’s version at her own pizza party years ago – before gluten-free was a fad or part of my life. Last week, I had some leftover mozzarella on hand from a grilled cheese recipe development project I was working on, and decided to give this polenta pie a trial run before it was bound for the discerning mouths of my fellow foodies.

I’m bordering on expert status when it comes to crispy polenta, so I knew that when meet with as much sauce and cheese as I wanted to put on my pie, that it would sag under the pressure. So I decided to go the deep-dish route. Since you eat the real thing with a knife and fork, I thought the experience with a polenta pie would be right on target. The result was delish. I even shared half my pie with my friend Jordana, a pizza connoisseur if there ever was one, and she approved. I’m going to have to test out freezing the “crust” in the same way I do these polenta bites so that polenta pizza can be a new weeknight meal go-to. Stay tuned for that experiment.

If you, like me, are gluten-free and prone to bouts of irrational, self-destructive pizza eating, this polenta pie will be your new best friend.

Eat up!


Deep Dish Polenta Pizza

Serving Size: Makes 2 Servings

Make sure that you make the bottom crust at least 1/2 inch thick, and that the side walls are sturdy as well. Think of it like making a pie crust - you don't want the sides to collapse when you cut a slice. Feel free to experiment with toppings - like most deep dish pizzas, you don't have to be afraid to load them on!


  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups water or stock
  • 3/4 cup polenta
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce or marinara
  • 1/4 cup grated part skim mozzarella
  • 1/4 pound fresh mozzarella, cubed
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons pesto


  1. Grease a 9-inch cake pan with olive oil. Set aside.
  2. In a large stock pot or dutch oven, bring the milk and water/stock to a simmer over high heat. When bubbles begin to form, whisk in the polenta in a gentle stream, and turn the heat down to medium-low. Simmer, stirring constantly, until the polenta is thick but still smooth, about 10 minutes. Add the salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Continue to stir until the polenta is resisting your whisk and forms a clump inside of it, about 3 to 5 minutes more.
  3. Working quickly, spoon the polenta into the prepared pan and smooth it evenly, pressing some of the mixture up the sides. Place a loose sheet of plastic wrap over it, then use a 1-cup measure to smooth the bottom and press the polenta up the sides of the pan, making sure to still have some slope. The bottom crust and side walls should all be about 1/2 inch thick. You don't have to go all the way up the sides of the pan, just shy of an inch tall.
  4. Refrigerate the polenta crust for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
  5. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Bake the chilled polenta in the oven for 3o to 40 minutes, until crispy and beginning to brown around the edges. Remove from the oven.
  6. Spoon the sauce into the prepared crust and use the back of your spoons to smooth it into an even layer. Arrange the cheeses on top, followed by the onions. Dot the top of the pie with the pesto. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  7. Return the pie to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling and the onions are beginning to brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Serve immediately, straight from the pan.

instagram  If you make this, share a photo and tag me @PhoebeLapine #feedmephoebe - I would love to see it!

Food Network #fallfest has segued into #comfortfoodfeast. Lucky us. Check out the other great takes on pizza below!

Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Gluten-Free Grain-Free Mini Pizza Faces
Feed Me Phoebe: Deep-Dish Polenta Pizza With Onions and Pesto
Cooking With Elise: Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
Haute Apple Pie: Honey, Gouda and Goat Cheese Pizza
What’s Gaby Cooking: Loaded Veggie and Prosciutto Pizza
Sweet Life Bake: Mexican Pizza – Tlayuda con Chorizo y Frijoles
Devour: Unexpected but Delicious Pizza Toppings
Virtually Homemade: Mashed Potato Bacon Pizza
The Cultural Dish: Pizza, Pizza, Pizza! Three Delicious Variations
Thursday Night Dinner: Beet and Goat Cheese Pizza
The Heritage Cook: Gluten-Free Pizza Focaccia
FN Dish: As Quick as Delivery Pizza Recipes



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26 Responses to Gluten-Free Is Me: Deep Dish Polenta Pizza

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  4. Phoebe, I can hardly wait to make this!

  5. Thanks, Elise!! Clearly I am a New Yorker, because my interpretation of “deep dish” violates nearly all of the rules you laid out in your post! I’ll have to re-do the polenta version and make it truly deep-dish next time with your guidelines! xo

  6. Jen says:

    Love this post. I just experimented with polenta this weekend for the first time. I’ll have to give this pizza a shot.

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  8. Pingback: Mexican Pizza ~ Tlayuda con Chorizo y Frijoles | Sweet Life

  9. Frankie says:

    You could make a dessert with that crust too! GF Tarte Tatin?

  10. Anne says:

    I just stumbled onto your blogsite through a post on Huffington Post. As I am reading through your site, I related to this post. My son and I have Celiac, and both my kids have several food allergies. They loved Pizza before we figured most of this out. So I was on a mission to make a GF pizza that is tasty enough to satisfy the kiddos and my husband who loves pizza but can eat Gluten. Hours and hours of disasters and finally, I made this one that tastes yummy! Try it….it is good. We traveled to NYC and had GF pizza at the restaurant. I held my breath as my kids/husband tried the pizza. They all said “yours is better Mama”. Small victories 🙂

    GF Pizza Dough

    2 tbsp active dry yeast (can be substituted if you cannot tolerate)
    1 cups superfine brown rice flour (I mill my own, but Authentic Foods is great)
    1/3 cup yellow organic corn meal
    1 cup tapioca flour
    2 tsp xantham gum
    2 tsp unflavored gelatin (1 packet)
    2 tbsp sugar
    1 tsp salt
    1 ½ cups of warm milk heated to 110 degrees
    1 tbsp light olive oil
    ½ tbsp cider vinegar

    – Preheat oven at 425 and pre-oil cookie sheet & plastic wrap cut a little bigger than your cookie sheet (use two if needed and overlap)
    – In a medium mixer bowl, using regular beaters, blend the dry ingredients to fluff;
    – Heat the milk to desired temperature
    – Add the oil & vinegar to the dry ingredients and let mix while milk heats up
    – Add the milk. Keep at low speed until the mixture is well blended (10-15 seconds). – Beat on high speed for exactly 2 minutes.
    – Remove mixture and place on cookie sheet – use a spatula, the mixture will be very sticky and should not be touched.
    – Let rest about 30 seconds.
    – Place plastic wrap on dough and press down with hands.
    – Use a rolling pin on top of the plastic wrap to roll it out all the way to the edges
    – Bake for 12 minutes until pizza dough is golden brown
    – Remove and add toppings. Cook until toppings are cooked/reheated.

    I hope you like this dough….let me know for substitutions. I have made this pizza dough without yeast and/or gelatin. But for best results, use both.

  11. Paige says:

    Hi Phoebe, I tried making the crust 2 different times, and both times it never got crispy. Rather, it was extremely mushy and pretty much like “raw dough.” I didn’t make it too thick. What am I doing wrong?

  12. Paige!

    I’m so bummed to hear you had so much trouble with the crust. Let’s troubleshoot:

    First, are you positive you’re using polenta? There are so many corn-based products in the flour/grain isles these days and it can get confusing. Someone once tried making my arepas with corn flour instead of masa harina, and kept running into trouble. Double check the package. Second, are you using instant polenta? The cooktime and amount of liquid needed is different for instant polenta, which people mainly use in wet version, not the firm one we are making here.

    Let’s now look at the cooking. By the end of the stove-top cooking, the polenta should be thick and hold it’s shape – it should be easy to mold into the pan, not soupy.

    Then, the polenta really does need to chill for a while in the fridge. I’ve cheated it some in the past by sticking the pan in the freezer, but it should really stay cold for more than an hour.

    The pre-baking is a very important step. The crust should definitely crisp up in this stage and become golden-brown around the sides. It’s similar to these hard polenta recipes:

    If you’ve made it pretty thick, it will be firm and crispy on the outside, but soft and delicious on the inside.

    The polenta isn’t a like/as substitute for normal pizza crust – it will still taste like polenta! – so it won’t ever become that kind of crispy. But it shouldn’t taste doughy either. It should taste delicious at all stages – especially initially while still soft out of the pot.

    Let me know if I helped shed any light on the problem!


    • Paige says:

      Thanks for responding! I could very well have picked up the wrong grain. Nothing was clearly marked as polenta in Whole Foods. I also don’t own a whisk (college kitchen), which could have made the consistency too lumpy. I’ll have to go back to the drawing board!

      • Phoebe says:

        my pleasure! it’s such a bummer when a recipe doesn’t work out, so apologies if I lead you astray. But gotta love the college kitchen. I’ve been there, whiskless. All about getting creative! xo

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  19. Chris says:

    Is it possible to use prepared polenta?

  20. Pingback: Gluten Free Polenta Pizza Recipe - Cranial Dump

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